Did you know 47.2% of Americans age 30 and older have periodontal disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention? While early gum disease (gingivitis) is reversible with a teeth cleaning from our Hudsonville dentists and a healthy at-home oral hygiene routine, the same can’t be said once it progresses into periodontitis. Here’s how you can protect your mouth from the onset of gum disease. You Can Work to Prevent Gum Disease By: 1.) Practicing Daily Oral Hygiene Gum disease is caused by untreated dental plaque buildup on your teeth and gums. While you’ll still need a professional teeth cleaning to get rid of tartar (hardened plaque), brushing your teeth at home at least twice a day will remove most plaque. Our dentists recommend using a soft-bristled toothbrush and a non-abrasive toothpaste that contains fluoride. Make sure you also floss once daily to remove plaque hiding between teeth and along the gum line. If you’re regularly brushing and flossing every day, you should be in good shape. A bonus, however, would be to also integrate an ADA approved mouthwash into your routine to further help keep gum disease at bay. 2.) Getting More Vitamin C Vitamin C deficiency has been found to be one of the leading causes of gum disease. Eating more oranges, strawberries, kiwis, or even taking vitamin C supplements can help boost your resistance against gum disease. This is thanks to the vitamin’s ability to keep the connective tissue in your gums strong, which then helps hold your teeth in place. Most importantly, vitamin C has healing properties that can stop gums from bleeding and swelling — both common gum disease symptoms. 3.) Eating a Balanced Diet Not only is a balanced diet good for your smile, but it can help improve overall health as well. Be sure to stay away from sugary foods and drinks that can lead to tooth decay and gum disease. A balanced diet filled with vitamins and minerals will boost your immunity and help prevent gum disease. Before putting something in your grocery cart, check the nutritional information on the package. Many of the foods and drinks we believe to be healthy can contain high levels of sugar like fruit juices and sports drinks. 4.) Staying Hydrated While it may seem weird to think about, saliva is one of our best natural defenses against dental plaque. For instance, after you eat a meal, your body produces more saliva to wash away plaque and food particles. You can easily aid saliva in doing its job by drinking plenty of water throughout the day. Remember to keep in mind, however, as you can enjoy your favorite beverages that coffee and alcohol can dehydrate you. Saliva also plays an important role in your oral health by: \tKeeping your mouth moist and comfortable (no dry mouth!) \tMaking chewing, tasting, and swallowing easier \tFighting off bacteria in your mouth, thus preventing bad breath \tProtecting tooth enamel with its proteins and minerals 5.) Scheduling Teeth Cleanings During a teeth cleaning, one of our dental hygienists can remove plaque from teeth. Later, our dentists will check for the signs of gum disease so you can maintain a healthy smile. While gingivitis is reversible, periodontitis is not. However, if our dentists discover advanced gum disease, they can perform the scaling and root planing procedure to properly clean the deep gum pockets that have formed, manage the condition, and prevent further oral health complications. Make an Appointment Today Our dentists in Hudsonville, MI, are dedicated to helping patients maintain healthy smiles by offering teeth cleanings and other preventive dentistry services. To schedule an appointment at Hudsonville Dental, please call (616) 209-4024. This blog post has been updated.